Buddhism teaches that after a practitioner achieves a certain degree of realization, spiritual power develops. A person at the level of an Arhat is said to possess six supernatural powers. Even so, it is understood that it is through Enlightenment that supernatural powers are manifested, rather than that supernatural powers enhance Enlightenment. Furthermore, it is acknowledged as well that supernatural powers are not attainable exclusively JUST by Buddhists and Buddhists only. It is possible for anyone who has deep religious and spiritual cultivation to develop some kind of ‘super-normal powers.
SIDDHI (Sanskrit: “accomplishment,” “attainment,” “perfection”). The term Siddhi is most often applied to a variety of spritual-related psychic capabilities or powers manifested by adherents in the Hindu and Buddhist realms. Through recognizing emptiness, clarity and openness of the mind, different qualities arise naturally, since they are part of mind. The Buddha, whose personal name Siddharta is based in the root-word and means “he whose aim is accomplished,” distinguishes between two types:
Normal Siddhis: all those forces of the conditioned world that transform elements.
Extraordinary Siddhis: the ability to open beings up for the liberating and enlightening truths; to lead to Realization.
Siddhi is typically defined as “a magical or spiritual power for the control of self, others and the forces of nature.” The Siddhis described by occultists and yogis are in actuality Supernormal Perceptual States available to all human beings. These are absolutely natural abilities that can be explained in highly rational terms. There is nothing mysterious or magical about the Siddhis.
1. PARKAYA PRAVESH
Parkaya Pravesh means entering one’s soul in the body of some other person. Through this knowledge even a dead body can be brought to life.
Just about three thousand years back, Shankaracharya had to take help of this knowledge in order to defeat Mandan Mishra in a spiritual debate. But as time passed this knowledge became extinct in the society and today only a very few yogis have full practical knowledge of this unique practice.
2. HAADI VIDYA
This Vidya or knowledge has been mentioned in several ancient texts. On acquiring this Vidya a person neither feels hungry nor thirsty and he can remain without eating food or drinking water for several days at a stretch.
Several Yogis of the Himalayas, remain engrossed in deep Sadhanas for months and years without eating or drinking anything. When they do not eat or drink, they do not even have to empty their bowels. Thus they are able to perform long penance for years and their bodies also remain healthy and fit, even without food. The mysterious wandering Digambara monk Trailanga Swami was proficient in this Vidya. Although not always counted among Siddhis per se’ several instances have been cited regarding Trailanga Swami’s ability to spend hours under the water of the Ganges as he sought to teach men that human life need not depend on oxygen under the auspices of certain spiritual conditions and precautions (Pranayama). It has been reported there is a yogi that lives on the peak of the holy mountain Arunachala that has not had anything to eat since 1990. See also Nirodha.
3. KAADI VIDYA
Just as one does not feel hungry or thirsty in Haadi Vidya similarly in Kaadi Vidya a person is not affected by change of seasons i.e. by summer, winter, rain etc. After accomplishing this Vidya a person shall not feel cold even if he sits in the snow laden mountains and shall not feel hot even if he sits in the fire. Thus a Sadhak can perform incessant penance without being affected by change of weather or seasons.
4. MADALASA VIDYA
On accomplishing this Vidya, a person becomes capable of increasing or decreasing the size of his body according to his wish. Lord Hanuman had miniaturised his body through this Vidya while entering the city of Lanka.
The average height of a human being is six feet. Through this Vidya a person can reduce the size of his body to the size of a mosquito and can even enlarge his body to a size of over hundred feet.
Anima Siddhi – The ability to decrease the size of one’s body and become smaller than the smallest particle. Through this siddhi one may enter into stone or change the density in one’s body, enabling one to pass through solid matter.
Mahima Siddhi – The ability to increase the size of one’s body, ultimately enveloping the universe.
5. VAYU GAMAN SIDDHI
Through this Siddhi a person can become capable of flying in the skies and traveling from one place to another in just a few seconds. The Jain scriptures speak of Jain ascetics who could fly from place to place in a few seconds. Although there are several occasions of individuals flying reported in the Sutras of classical Buddhism and Zen, the Venerable Pindola Bharadvaja is probably the person most commonly cited. For the movement or cross-transference of items between the conventional plane or physical plane and other possible environments see Apportation Revisited.
Swami Vishuddhanandji (d. 1937)(sometimes spelled: Vishuddhananda, Vishudhanandaaka; aka: Gandha Baba, Perfume Saint), well-known for his supernatural powers and said to be an adept associated with the mysterious Gyanganj (Jnanaganj) hermitage somewhere in Tibet — a secret place of great masters — demonstrated this practice in Varanasi and proved that it is not a myth.
Although throughout his life the Enlightened sage Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi never exhibited the slightest interest in Siddhis, occult abilities, or psychic powers to outsiders, he had a fully conscious bilocation experience he rarely discussed wherein he was translocated from his ashram in a matter of minutes to a devotee many, many miles away. Arthur Osborne, Ramana’s biographer writes in Ramana Maharshi And The Path of Self-Knowledge (York Beach: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1995, pages 96-97):
“One day, some years ago, I (Sri Ramana) was lying down and awake when I distinctly felt my body rise higher and higher. I could see the physical objects below growing smaller and smaller until they disappeared and all around me was a limitless expanse of dazzling light. After some time I felt the body slowly descend and the physical objects below began to appear. I was so fully aware of this incident that I finally concluded that it must be by such means that Sages using the powers of Siddhis travel over vast distances in a short time and Appear and Disappear in such a mysterious manner. While the body thus descended to the ground it occurred to me that I was at Tiruvottiyur though I had never seen the place before. I found myself on a highroad and walked along it. At some distance from the roadside was a temple of Ganapati and I entered it.”
A second equally interesting incident, cast in in a similar vein, and involving the Maharshi but a little too long to put here, can be found by going to: THE MEETING: An Untold Story of Sri Ramana
Laghima Siddhi – The ability to make one’s body lighter than air and fly at will. The perfection of this siddhi enables one to travel on the sun’s rays and enter into the sun planet.
LAGHIMA: TO HAVE NO WEIGHT. Laghima is the control of the effect of the earth’s attraction on the body by developing in each cell the opposite (centrifugal) tendency. Said to be implemented for the performed act of levitation, the Vayu Gaman Siddhi and the Laghima Siddhi. According to one of the eighteen main Puranas, the Markandeya Purana, Laghima means “to have an extreme speed.”
Successful cultivation of even the earliest stages of Samadhi can result in entering into the sublime meditative states of the Five Jhana Factors of which one is called Piti. Inturn Piti is broken down into five levels. One of those levels is called Ubbenga Piti, known as the transporting rapture.
Ubbenga Piti can lift the body off the floor and doing so still occurs to meditators of current times both in Thailand and elsewhere. A strong rapture of this kind, as manifested through the higher Jhana states, is able to lift the body and transport it (fly) over great distances through the air.
6. KANAKDHARA SIDDHI
One can acquire immense and unlimited wealth through this Siddhi. It’s said that once Shankaracharya saw a very poor and destitute woman and with the help of the Kanakdhara Yantra he showered gold in her house. This Yantra is made on a silver plate and 36 squares are formed by drawing 7 lines each, horizontally and vertically. Then the Beej Mantra is written in these squares. Today only a very few people have full and authentic knowledge of this Siddhi.
7. PRAKYA SADHANA
Through this Sadhana a yogi can direct his disciple to take birth from the womb of a woman, who is childless or cannot bear children. Several Yogis have thus blessed infertile women with children. Swami Vishuddhanand had accomplished this Sadhana and had used it to bring happiness into the lives of several women. But today only two or three persons are accomplished in this Sadhana.
8. SURYA VIGYAN
This Solar science is one of the most significant sciences of ancient India. This science has been known only to the Indian Yogis and using it, one substance can be transformed into another through the medium of sun rays.
Swami Vishudhananda had demonstrated the miracles of this science about 50-60 years ago, by transforming a paper into rose and a cotton ball into gold, otherwise it has become almost extinct.
9. MRIT SANJIVANI VIDYA
This Vidya was created by Adi Shankaracharya. Through it even a dead person can be brought back to life. This practice may seem to be a myth but it had been used by Guru Gorakhnath several times. Today only a few persons have practical knowledge of this Vidya.
Prapti Siddhi – The ability to manifest any object one desires within one’s hand. This siddhi removes the limitations of space which seperate two objects from each other. It is said one will even be able to touch the moon with one’s finger [i.e. the limitation of distance is removed].
Prakamya Siddhi – The ability to attain anything one desires.
Ishita Siddhi – The ability to control the sub-potencies of the laws of nature. This enables one to control various energies and seemingly defy the laws of nature. The Swami Ramalinga, more popularly known as Vallalar is recorded to have moved a whole contingent of followers from the wrath of a terrible storm to the safe harbor of a distant shrine in an instant. See also la Catalina whose abilities allowed her, among other things, to turn into a wisp of smoke as though a blackened silhouette and sail through the air only to dissipate into the night sky.
Vashita Siddhi – The ability to bring others under one’s control.
Kamavasayita Siddhi – The ability to attain anything anywhere. This is the highest of the eight and contains most of the abilities of the other perfections.
For further exploration into these topics, I refer you to The Sacred Books of the East Volume Xl ~ Full Book